Crimea, a wicked game of political chess and a ‘big’ coincidence

Arseni Yatseniuk

Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission (left) & Arseni Yatseniuk, Interim Prime Minister of Ukraine (right), (EC Audiovisual Services)

Last Friday, 21 March, was a historic day in modern geopolitical proceedings. A former Soviet Union member was opening its door to the European Union while just a few hours later a significant part of the same country was being annexed by Russia. The former sentence on its own could have been taken from a science fiction book, but yet it is part of history now. This ‘accidental’ synchronisation of the two events has truly astonished me. It is like in the movies where you sit back and you absorb information in a linear manner, until something happens and you feel like shaking your head to make some space for a non linear event to fit your brains. This is exactly how I will treat the two simultaneous signatures of last Friday, one in Brussels and one in Moscow, like someone who has bought a ticket to a movie. I expect more people to empathise when they read further and perhaps to want to claim their money back…

Before taking our seats at the cinema theatre let’s review briefly last Friday’s events. Starting from our neighbourhood, there was a dusty agreement that was printed last November, lying somewhere inside a drawer at the European Council, but was never signed. It is none other but the “Association Accord” between the European Union and Ukraine, a deal that seals a broader economic, security and defines cooperation between the two sides. It is the same ‘contract’ that the 28 EU countries were all waiting for the former Ukrainian President to certainly confirm and sign. To their ‘big surprise’ Mr Yanukovich took back his word finally and he showed clear preference to the Russian steppe. The rest is four months of political and social unrest in Ukraine, brutal force, killings and ‘hints’ of civil war. Clearly Ukraine after signing the agreement through its Interim Prime Minister Arseni Yatseniuk obtained an ambitious European direction for the future; or at least this is how is seems.

A few miles to the East, with a ‘delay’ of only a few hours, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, was putting his final signature on the annexation of the southern peninsula of Ukraine, Crimea, to Russia. This ratified, according to the Russian part, the result of the Crimean vote that preceded last week, where the voters massively voted in favour of the ‘re-unification’ with Russia, with the presence of Russian guns and muscles in the territory. So, simply put what we saw is a country conquering a part of another one without official war, at least not yet. It seems that, as we move further  and further from the catastrophic World War II, countries find more ‘creative’ ways to invade in other countries with agreements and fireworks. Is it only me or something is not going at all well here? Similar ‘sudden’ invasion happened back in the 70s in Cyprus by Turkey and still the two sides are lost in ‘negotiations’ of what belongs to whom some 40 years later. Indeed we live in strange times. What next? Who takes over what with the suspicious silent consent of the world community that only makes you wonder? It makes you wonder how far from home are the big boys allowed to go and play and who gives a damn about the repercussions?

Coming back to those repercussions, the world community, ‘thank God’, ran to launch ‘strict’ sanctions to Russia for this illegal annexation that is indeed rare in modern European history. The USA through Barack Obama have already announced travel bans and asset freezes to 31 Russians, people from Putin’s government and billionaire tycoons that allegedly he has close relations to. All this with a bit of help from American giants like Mastercard and Visa but also from Fitch and Standard & Poors that changed their outlook to Russia from stable to negative. At the same time, the EU has announced similar sanctions to 33 Russians. Obviously, the EU, being primarily engaged into that, as Ukraine is situated in Europe and not in the USA, wanted to show more enthusiasm by topping up the list with two more persons than the US list. But will there be more significant sanctions than the comparison of the number of cells in an excel list?

Well, the EU did say something actually about further economic sanctions on the EU-Russia relations but wisely enough it was put vaguely and mildly. How could it happen otherwise, anyway, given the very important trade relations of the two countries, with Germany being on the top? Moreover, it goes without saying that trade sanctions cannot be launched impulsively to a market on which the EU depends so much on energy. At the same time, President Obama, who is presented to be more heavily ‘disturbed’ by that annexation, visits Europe currently and next week and he states that this will be on top of his agenda, discussing with Europeans how to ‘punish’ Russia. On the other side, Putin plays his own part of the game mocking openly the “personalised” sanctions towards his friends. Further, the Russian side posits that there is no need for further retaliation in an attempt to loosen a rather tensed tripartite political conflict between Russia, EU and US. Not to omit that the EU and the US support the mandate of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that will send an envoy of 500 specialists to monitor the security situation in Ukraine. Putin has agreed to that and looks supportive, again of course to cool down the tension. However, President Obama is said to insist on OSCE going also to Crimea to check things, but Putin, as expected, did not accept that, because for him Crimea is Russia and he can show the signed ‘contract’ too…

Will there be heavier sanctions from the EU and US towards Russia to try to convince Putin to give his ‘newly acquired’ region back? Will Russia retaliate with further heavy trade and economic sanctions? Will there be a World War III? I think none of the three.We are just being spectators here to a good game of international political chess. You know the one that political science professors wait for the “Check” to be announced, in order to analyse it based on the numerous existing theories and showcase it to their students as the term’s case study.

You see, nowadays there is no politics apparently but only business. An escalation of the situation would have serious impact on the world economy. However, indeed nobody can oversee the unprecedented illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine to Russia. Not to forget the political interests here of the greatest powers of the world that are gathered here and their ‘responsibility’ towards their voters that watch TV and expect World War III to begin.

All in all, all the major parties are called to play this hard political game to seek compromise in the end. And this is what will happen, a compromise; nothing more, nothing less. In any case, though, nobody can tell Putin to take back the fireworks lighting the sky of Sevastopol last week. In a couple of months this will be settled and the excel lists with sanctions erased.

What is of tantamount importance here, though, is to stop and think a little bit about that ‘synchronization’ of those two events on Friday that signalled in the most spectaculous way the end of another political vicious circle. A circle where the end meets exactly its beginning and the price of it being the loss of lives and territories. How pretentious and fake can last Fridays coincidence be?

What do I know anyway? I am just another one who paid his ticket to watch a political thriller but wants to claim his money back.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

First 17 “European Universities” selected: a major step towards building a European Education Area

100 years on, UN labour agency mission focussed on growing inequality, says Director-General

Business can be profitable AND drive progress on societal priorities

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

To retire at 65, American millennials need to save almost half their paycheck

UN Chief ‘strongly rejects’ Guatemala decision to expel anti-corruption body

UN agencies call for action to bolster rights of Europe’s stateless children

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

GSMA Mobile 360 in Kuala Lumpur– Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

What the Fifth Industrial Revolution is and why it matters

Just transition in EU regions: support to people, economy and environment

Happiness apps: how schools are joining the fight for better student mental health

Low productivity jobs continue to drive employment growth

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

Serious concerns over Sahel, require ‘urgent action’: Senior UN Africa official

EU Budget 2019: focus on the young, on migration and innovation

How big data can help us fight climate change faster

Entrepreneurship’s key to success showcased by a serial young entrepreneur

UN Children’s Fund chief condemns ‘horrific’ Kabul bomb attack

EU presses India for a free trade agreement

Former Chilean President Bachelet put forward by UN chief as next High Commissioner for Human Rights

France is bringing back national service

Silicon Valley can do more to achieve the #GlobalGoals

Is Eurozone preparing to abandon austerity and stagnation?

Unemployment and stagnation can tear Eurozone apart if austere policies persist

Lives at risk if wireless technology demands are not held in check: UN weather watchdog

Welfare of transported animals: MEPs urge EU states to do a better job

South Sudan famine threat: UN food security agency in ‘race against time’

How can we make entrepreneurship serve the greater good?

Abu Dhabi is investing $250 million in tech start-ups

EU cross-border payments outside Eurozone: MEPs scrap excessive fees

Restore land to save the planet, boost the economy, says head of UN body combating desertification

COVID-19: Commission provides guidance on EU passenger rights

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

The global appetite for meat is growing, and it’s harming the planet

All States have ‘primary responsibility’ to protect against hate attacks

End racist discrimination against Afro-European people in the EU

‘Stay at home’ UK tells people as global confirmed cases pass 380,000 – Today’s coronavirus updates

The digital skills gap is widening fast. Here’s how to bridge it

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

This Hungarian man quit his job to clean up his favourite river

What’s needed now to fight COVID-19 – Updates from today’s WHO briefing

Endocrine disruptors: A strategy for the future that protects EU citizens and the environment

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

Sudan: top UN official demands cessation of violence and rape against civilians by security forces

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

Counterfeiters are taking advantage of the pandemic. Here’s how to stop them

Investment, not debt, can kick-start an entrepreneurial Europe

Nearly four million North Koreans in urgent need, as food production slumps by almost 10 per cent

UN rights experts call on Russia to release Ukrainian film-maker whose life is in ‘imminent danger’

Food finally features in the climate debate. Now what?

Terrorist content online: companies to be given just one hour to remove it

Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): a stimulating China-EU dialogue at European Business Summit 2018

A Sting Exclusive: “Asia-Pacific response to COVID-19 and climate emergency must build a resilient and sustainable future”, by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General

From start-up to scale: This is how governments can accelerate innovation and build inclusive economies

FROM THE FIELD: Enslaved Guatemalan indigenous women wait for reparations

How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer

Mozambique pledging conference hopes to soften devastating blow of back-to-back cyclones

African continent ‘an example of solidarity’ towards migrants and refugees: UN chief

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s